America's Frontline Doctors

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America's Frontline Doctors (AFLDS) is a right-wing political organization in the US known most notably for spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. AFLDS was formed to aid Donald Trump's reelection campaign and has ties to the Council for National Policy and the Tea Party Patriots. The group has taken many fringe and controversial stances, including arguing against COVID-19 lockdowns, casting doubt on the efficacy of the the COVID-19 vaccine, and promoting untested and potentially dangerous treatments for the virus, such as Hydroxychloroquine. They have also argued that masks are not effective at stopping the spread of COVID-19. They assert that lockdowns and mask and vaccine mandates are violations of medical and constitutional freedoms, and that such measures also hurt the economy.

The group was founded and is led by Los Angeles-based physician Dr. Simone Gold. According to the group's official website, they are a "project" of the Free Speech Foundation, a 501(c)(3), non-profit, charitable organization. Recent reporting suggests that the "Free Speech Foundation" has changed its name to the "Common Sense Foundation", though the AFLDS website has not been updated to reflect this.[1] Before it obtained its non charitable tax status, The Free Speech Foundation obtained fiscal sponsorship from the Tea Party Patriots, "meaning that it accepts tax-deductible donations on behalf of the doctors’ group and helps it with accounting. A fiscal sponsor allows an organization that has not received its 501(c)(3) charitable tax status to accept tax-deductible donations."[2]

The Litigation arm of AFLDS, the "Legal Eagle Dream Team," has initiated a series of lawsuits aimed at thwarting measures taken to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as filing a complaint In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama to "Halt Covid Vaccines in children."[3]

News and Controversies

AFLDS' Efforts to Profit from "Bogus COVID-19 Treatments" Spur US Congressional Investigation

In addition to promoting its view that medications such as Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine are acceptable treatments—or even cures—for COVID-19, AFLDS has profited off of the pandemic by selling access to these medications through its website. According to a report by Time Magazine, AFLDS "offers telemedicine appointments with a doctor willing to prescribe the drug."[4] Time reported that many paying customers received neither the consultations nor the medications. The Time investigation found:

Over the past three months...hundreds of AFLD customers and donors have accused the group of touting a service promising prescriptions for ivermectin, which medical authorities say should not be taken to treat or prevent COVID-19, and failing to deliver after a fee had been paid. Some customers described being
charged for consultations that did not happen. Others said they were connected to digital pharmacies that quoted excessive prices of up to $700 for the cheap
medication. In more than 3,000 messages reviewed by TIME, dozens of people described their or their family members’ COVID-19 symptoms worsening while they waited for an unproven “wonder drug” that didn’t arrive.

Hacked data obtained by The Intercept from "Cadence Health" revealed the scope of AFLDS' dealings in Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine. Between July 16 and September 12, 2021, AFLDS referred over 250,000 people to the telemedicine site "SpeakWithAnMD," which uses the platform Cadence Health. [5] The Intercept reported that patients paid approximately $6.7 million for consultations alone between July and September of 2021.

The Washington Post reported on October 29, 2021 that the House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis opened an inquiry into AFLDS and concerning their efforts to promote and profit from ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. In a letter to Jerome Corsi, the founder of, chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) wrote that he is "deeply concerned that is profiting from the provision of questionable treatments and dangerous prescriptions, which may be putting American lives at risk and setting back our nation’s efforts to end the pandemic."[6] According to the Washington Post, the subcommittee has demanded from both organizations information and records regarding "ownership documents, any contracts between the two companies, revenue figures, the size of their workforces, the number of prescriptions they have issued for certain treatments, and details about their doctors’ training and qualifications."

The "Uncensored Truth" RV Tour

On May 10, 2021 AFLDS launched a cross-country RV tour in order spread misinformation about the COVID-19 Pandemic. The tour, officially named the "The Uncensored Truth: Physicians and Patients Standing Up for Science, Freedom and Common Sense," was announced by AFLDS in a press release on May 7, 2021. According to the press release, AFLDS founder Simone gold will be joined on the tour by other AFLDS Physicians and attorneys in order to "engage local communities in a critical conversation about healthcare, the law, and how all Americans can protect both themselves and their freedom." The Press release goes on to lament how "AFLDS physicians have been the victims of cancel culture for the past year for raising objections to the government's response to the pandemic."[7] On its website, AFLDS describes the RV tour as a "relentless force of scientific and legal facts fighting back against censorship, chaos, and the undeniable slide towards communism that lurks beneath the tyrannical lockdowns of governmental 'public health' policy."[8] The first leg of the tour included stops in Arizona, Texas, and Florida.

AFLDS' Simone Gold's Role in Capitol Riot, Arrest

Gold was captured on video taking part in the January 6 Capitol Insurrection. She "confirmed to The Washington Post that she is the person pictured carrying a bullhorn on the Capitol grounds."[9] According to Gold's account to the Washington post, she entered the Capitol rotunda because she "followed a crowd and assumed it was legal to do so." Video, however, captures gold "at the doors of the federal building, in the middle of a crowd attempting to push past law enforcement officials to get inside."[10] John Strand, AFLDS' Communications Director, was also present in the Capitol rotunda and captured on video.

On January 18, 2021, Gold was arrested by the FBI at her home in Beverly Hills on charges of "entering a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct."[11]

"White Coat Summit"

On July 27, 2020, the Tea Party Patriots held the "White Coat Summit" in front of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington DC. At the event, 12 physicians affiliated with AFLDS and led by Simone Gold made numerous dubious claims, including that "hydroxychloroquine was an effective coronavirus treatment and that masks did not slow the spread of the virus."[12] One speaker featured at the summit, Dr. Stella Immanuel, has a history of making unusual and outlandish claims. On her website, for example, she writes that "tormenting spirits" are to blame for "serious gynecological problems, marital distress, miscarriages, and impotence"[13]

A viral video of the event helped launch the group from near total obscurity to relative notoriety. Versions of the video were shared by Donald Trump, Donald trump Jr, and Breitbart News within six hours of the summit. It spread "largely through Facebook groups dedicated to anti-vaccination movements and conspiracy theories such as QAnon, racking up tens of millions of views."[14]

Ties to the Council for National Policy

AFLDS has ties to to Council for National Policy (CNP). Jenny Beth Martin, a member of CNP and cofounder of the Tea Party Patriots, helped organize the "White Coat Summit," the event that launched AFLDS into the public eye. Martin was present and made remarks at the summit.[15]

In April of 2020, CNP's lobbying wing, CNP Action, began hosting strategy conference calls with affiliates in order to discuss strategies to reopen the economy in light of the COVID-19 shutdown and to aid President Donald Trump's reelection campaign. CNP Action is affiliated with the Save Our Country Coalition, "an alliance of conservative think tanks and political committees formed in late April to end state lockdowns implemented in response to the pandemic," according to the associated press.[16] The audio of one such call, held on May 11th 2020, was obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). CMD subsequently provided the call audio to the Associated Press.[17] According to CMD, participants on the call stated that "the Trump campaign is vetting doctors for a coalition that will back up his handling of the coronavirus crisis, which many critics have eviscerated." Nancy Schulze, a conservative activist who was present on the call, informed the group that she had submitted to the Trump campaign the names of 27 doctors. On the call, she noted that the doctors have been vetted by the Trump campaign and "should do media appearances to help boost Trump's favorability numbers."

Schulze went on to state:

There is a doctors' coalition who are extremely pro-Trump that have been preparing and coming together for the war ahead in the campaign on health care, and these doctors could be activated for this conversation now for the reopening...They need to be put on the screen...We have doctors that have the facts, that live this themselves, that are in the trenches, that are saying, 'It's time to reopen'...They're a doctors' coalition, including some of the most respected doctors in the country, that are ready to speak if somebody would just call on them.
Council for National Policy

The Council for National Policy (CNP) is a secretive, Christian Right organization of funders and activists founded in 1981 by activist Morton Blackwell, commentator Paul Weyrich, direct-mail pioneer Richard Viguerie, right-wing activist Phyllis Schlafly and Left Behind author Tim LaHaye. Anne Nelson's book about CNP, Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right, describes how the organization connects "the manpower and media of the Christian right with the finances of Western plutocrats and the strategy of right-wing Republican political operatives.”

CNP membership as of September 2020 is available here.


Prior to obtaining its charitable tax status from the IRS in May 2021, the parent organization of AFLDS, the Common Sense Foundation (formerly the Free Speech Foundation), received fiscal sponsorship from the Tea Party Patriots, according to the Free Speech Foundation's application for 501(c)(3) status. This permitted AFLDS to receive tax-deductible donations from the Tea Party Patriots prior to being granted 501(c)(3) tax status by the IRS. The application also reveals that in 2020 the group anticipated a revenue of $400,000 and that in 2021 "forecast a budget of over $900,000, including $231,000 in compensation for officers and $50,000 for lobbying."[18]

Beyond what is revealed in the groups IRS application for 501(c)(3) tax status, not much is known about other funding sources of AFDLS and their parent organization. According to an August 2021 report by Time Magazine, "It’s hard to pin down how many people the group employs, how much money it’s taking in, or how that money has been spent, in part because the non-profit has failed to file required disclosures. After it failed to submit its annual report in Arizona, where the group is registered under the name 'Free Speech Foundation,' the state recently downgraded the organization’s charitable status to 'pending inactive.'”[19]

Core Financials

Unavailable as of November 2021



As of October 2021, AFLDS does not provide an exhaustive list of its staff on their official website. As such, it is difficult to ascertain a comprehensive picture of the AFLDS team.

Members Present at the "White Coat Summit"

  • Simone Gold | AFLDS founder and primary spokesperson
    • Gold has promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 and has asserted that there is "no scientific basis that the average American should be concerned" about the contracting COVID-19.[20]
  • Dr. Stella Immanuel | Primary Care Physician, Minister and owner of "Firepower Ministries"
    • Immanuel has referred to a cocktail of hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Zithromax as a "cure" for COVID-19. She has a history of promoting unusual beliefs, such as the existence of "Alien DNA."[21]
  • Dr. Mark McDonald | Child Psychologist
    • McDonald has argued that “If all Americans had access to hydroxychloroquine, the pandemic would essentially end in about 30 days.”[22]
  • Dr Dan Erickson | Osteopath
    • Erickson appeared in "Plandemic," the viral video laden with conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 Pandemic. He has claimed that "state lockdowns have little effect on the coronavirus fatality rate."[23]
  • Dr. Jeff Barke

Legal Wing of AFLDS: the "Legal Eagle Dream Team"

  • James Bopp, director of litigation[24]

As of October 2021:[25]

  • Simone Gold, MD, JD, FABEM
  • Joseph S. Gilbert, Esq.
  • Leigh Dundas, Esq.
  • Tom Renz, Esq.

Contributors & "Authors"

As of October 2021:[26]

  • Dr. Jen VanDeWater, PharmD, Pharmacy Director
  • Avigail Montiel, Frontline News Deputy Director of Operations
  • Dr. Steve LaTulippe, Medical Contributor
  • Rabbi Ariel, Spiritual Contributor
  • Mordechai Sones, Investigative News Director
  • Dr. Teryn Clarke,Medical Contributor
  • Dr. Lynn Fynn, Virology, Infectious Disease
  • Dr. Kathleen A. Cullen, Medical Contributor
  • Dr. Pam Shervanick, Medical Contributor
  • Dr. Lee Merritt, Medical Editor

Board of Directors

Per IRS Application for 501(c)(3) Tax Status of AFLDS Parent Organization:[27]

Contact Information

America's Frontline Doctors
1645 West Valencia Road NO 109-193
Tucson, AZ 85746
Phone: 602-382-4066

Articles and Resources

IRS Form 990 Filings

IRS 1023 Tax-Exempt Application for AFLDS Parent Organization

Related SourceWatch Articles

Related PRWatch Articles


  1. Alex Kotch , "Tea Party Patriots Are Behind Pro-Trump Doctors Grifting Off of Fake Covid Cures," Exposed by CMD, September 9, 2021.
  2. Alex Kotch , "Tea Party Patriots Are Behind Pro-Trump Doctors Grifting Off of Fake Covid Cures," Exposed by CMD, September 9, 2021.
  3. , "[1]," America's Frontline Doctors, Accessed October 25, 2021.
  4. Vera Bergengruen, "How 'America's Frontline Doctors' Sold Access to Bogus COVID-19 Treatments—and Left Patients in the Lurch," Time, August0 26, 2021.
  6. Aaron Gregg, "House panel opens inquiry into online businesses over ‘questionable’ coronavirus treatments and misinformation," The Washington Post, October 29, 2021.
  7. "Frontline Doctors Launch National RV Tour to Combat Covid-19 Medical Censorship and Cancel Culture," Cision PR Newswire, May 07, 2021.
  8. "The Uncensored Truth Tour," America's Frontline Doctors, Accessed November 11, 2021.
  9. Neena Satija, "‘I do regret being there’: Simone Gold, noted hydroxychloroquine advocate, was inside the Capitol during the riot," The Washington Post, January 12, 2021.
  10. Amanda D'Ambrosio, "Simone Gold Arrested for Role in Capitol Insurrection," MEDPAGE Today, January 20, 2021.
  11. Peter Stone, "'Wilful ignorance': doctor who joined Capitol attack condemned for Covid falsehoods," The Guardian, January 22, 2021.
  12. Sheera Frenkel & Davey Alba, "Misleading Virus Video, Pushed by the Trumps, Spreads Online," The New York Times, July 28, 2020.
  13. Dr Stella Immanuel, "Misleading Virus Video, Pushed by the Trumps, Spreads Online," Fire Power Deliverance Ministries with Dr Stella Immanuel, Accessed October 24, 2021.
  14. Sheera Frenkel & Davey Alba, "Misleading Virus Video, Pushed by the Trumps, Spreads Online," The New York Times, July 28, 2020.
  15. Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins, "Dark money and PAC's coordinated 'reopen' push are behind doctors' viral hydroxychloroquine video," NBC News, July 28, 2020.
  16. MICHAEL BIESECKER and JASON DEAREN, "GOP fronts ‘pro-Trump’ doctors to prescribe rapid reopening," The Associated Press, May 20, 2020.
  17. Alex Kotch, "A Coalition of Pro-Trump Doctors Is Forming to Defend the President’s COVID-19 Blunders," Center for Media and Democracy, May 19, 2020.
  18. Alex Kotch, "Tea Party Patriots Are Behind Pro-Trump Doctors Grifting Off of Fake Covid Cures," Exposed by CMD, September 09, 2021.
  19. Vera Bergengruen, "How 'America's Frontline Doctors' Sold Access to Bogus COVID-19 Treatments—and Left Patients in the Lurch," Time, August 26, 2021.
  20. Daniel Funke, "Who are the doctors in the viral hydroxychloroquine video?," Politifact, July 29, 2020.
  21. Daniel Funke, "Who are the doctors in the viral hydroxychloroquine video?," Politifact, July 29, 2020.
  22. Anne Nelson, "[2]," The Washington Spectator, September 20, 2020.
  23. Daniel Funke, "Who are the doctors in the viral hydroxychloroquine video?," Politifact, July 29, 2020.
  24. The Bopp Law Firm, Fight Continues for Indiana University Students Who Challenged COVID Vaccination Mandate, organizational site, accessed Nov. 12, 2021.
  25. , "[3]," America's Frontline Doctors, Accessed October 25, 2021.
  26. , "[4]," America's Frontline Doctors, Accessed October 25, 2021.
  27. Free Speech Foundation, IRS 1023 Tax-Exempt Application, organizational filing, 2020.